PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN
PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN
ii PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable extends its sincerest gratitude to Dr. Peter L. Jackson for his contributions to the roundtable and to the complex understanding of the Prince George airshed and its components. Without his support and insight, this report would not be possible. Dr. Jackson’s support of PGAIR extends beyond the members of the roundtable, to the broader community including the students who directly benefit from his approach to hands-on learning.
Thank you, Dr. Jackson. Gail Roth is a valuable member of the PGAIR in her capacity as Air Quality Meteorologist with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV) in Prince George. Her commitment to the roundtable is exceptional, as she goes above the demands of her role with ENV to support the roundtable and the community in achieving its goals. Her input to this report was substantial, and very much appreciated. Thank you, Ms. Roth.
The PGAIR Operations Committee members volunteer their time to PGAIR and provided valuable feedback as well as historic knowledge to Phase 3 Plan Final Report. Thank you to all of the members of the Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable Operations Committee.
PHASE 3 PLAN FINAL REPORT iii EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable (PGAIR) is a volunteer planning group that evolved from the Airshed Technical Management Committee formed in 1995. PGAIR continues to support the multi-jurisdictional nature of air quality management in the airshed through its broad multi-stakeholder roundtable structure.
It maintains a focused management effort on air quality issues in Prince George. The aim of this report is to communicate the results and achievements of work undertaken in the Prince George airshed by the Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable and its member agencies toward the improvement of air quality between 2011 and 2016. The Phase 3 Implementation Plan (2011-2016) built on the work carried out under Phases 1 and 2, and concentrated efforts towards reducing particulate matter (most specifically PM2.5) from a variety of sources in the airshed. Phase 3 targets aimed to: • maintain ambient PM2.5 concentrations equal to or more stringent than provincial, national and international ambient air quality objectives: • daily PM2.5 average not to exceed 25 µg/m3 by 2013; • annual average PM2.5 concentrations not to exceed 6 µg/m3 by 2013 and 5 µg/m3 by 2016; • reduce the amount of PM2.5 being released into the Prince George airshed from significant sources by 40% by 2016; • reduce PM emissions in the Prince George airshed by implementing source-specific reduction strategies for 2011-2016 and beyond.
The members of the roundtable recognized that meeting these goals and implementing the key strategies would not be possible without a combination of land use planning and voluntary, educational and regulatory efforts. PGAIR served to coordinate efforts and information sharing between member organizations. It also served as the lead for research, public awareness and educational initiatives. Member organizations focused efforts on investigating and implementing actions relevant to each of the key strategies. The results achieved under the Phase 3 Implementation Plan represent a co-operative effort by all sectors and all members of the community.
Particulate Matter Particulate matter is an air pollutant that comes from many different sources. It is most commonly measured according to its size. The two most common size fractions are PM2.5 and PM10 . Both of these size fractions are respirable, can be breathed deep into the lungs, and have the potential to impact human and environmental health.
iv PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN Reviewing the outcomes of Phase 3 demonstrates notable successes, shortcomings, and highlights some of the challenges of airshed management in Prince George. While none of the ambient PM2.5 targets were met every year, • daily PM2.5 concentrations remained at or below 25 µg/m3 for an average of 360.17 days per year over the 2011-2016 period, and • annual average PM2.5 concentrations were at or below 6 µg/m3 for four out of the six years.
Even more, a detailed evaluation of ambient PM2.5 concentrations and trends revealed that significant, measureable reductions of PM2.5 have been realized in the city, particularly for the heavy industrial sector situated to the east of downtown (Jackson et al., 2017). This same evaluation identified that the Phase 3 goals were quite rigid and did not account for the ‘unmanageable’ component of PM2.5 (e.g. naturally existing sources and external influences such as forest fire smoke). It was also highlighted that future goals will need to consider recent changes to monitoring technology that now measures PM2.5 concentration more completely.
Recommendations regarding these factors outlined in the report will be considered for future goal setting.
Research conducted in Phases 1 and 2 identified several major sources that contribute PM2.5 emissions from within the Prince George airshed including permitted and non-permitted industry, commercial activities, dust, transportation and wood burning. Some of these emission sources are particularly challenging to address: they are not regulated, and they are distributed across the city`s landscape, making them impractical to measure on a regular basis. For this reason, the overall success of the 40% emissions reduction target is difficult to quantify. Residential heating and wood burning remain important areas for improvement, and strategies to reduce these include education and outreach as major components.
As a partial indicator, air emissions data available from permitted industries (collected by ENV) was reviewed. Major point sources of PM (e.g. large industrial stacks) show a substantial decrease in emissions over time. This trend corresponds with the findings of the Jackson et al. (2017) evaluation. Many strategic efforts towards reducing PM2.5 emissions were implemented. Some notable highlights include the implementation of the City’s Clean Air Bylaw, which saw early enforcement of restrictions on outdoor burning activities in the city; the coordination of the Provincial Woodstove Exchange Program at the local and Regional District level; and ongoing communication with the public about the impacts of local and regional air quality events, alongside strategic partners such as the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the Northern Health Authority.
Perhaps the largest improvement in PM emissions can be attributed to technology upgrades by industrial partners.
Overall, PGAIR worked to implement strategies outlined in the Phase 3 Implementation Plan through developed networks and partnerships. Progress was made on nearly every identified strategy, and of course, some areas saw more success than others. Most of the strategies are long-term in their scope and results are difficult to quantify. The greatest success by PGAIR, however, is in the engagement of the overall community, which includes residents, businesses and industry, and government at all levels. This community connection will be critical in the move forward into the next phase.
PGAIR is guided in the next phase by the Strategic Plan (2017-2021), which builds on successes of working together at the local level and encourages further improvements across all sectors.
The Strategic Plan recognizes that further work is needed to continue to reduce PM emissions across all sectors to ensure a long-term healthy and sustainable community. PM will remain as a priority for PGAIR since research clearly demonstrates its association with negative health outcomes for exposed populations (Brook et al. 2010). Future planning will also include a review of other pollutants, which will be considered for inclusion in air quality management activities under the 2016- 2021 Strategic Plan.
PHASE 3 PLAN FINAL REPORT v Table of Contents Acknowledgements ii Executive Summary iii 1.0 Introduction 1 2.0 Background 1 2.1 Air Quality Trends in Prince George 1 3.0 Air Quality Management in Prince George 2 3.1 Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable (PGAIR) 2 2.3 Phase 1 (1998-2006) and Phase 2 (2006-2010) 4 2.4 Phase 1 and 2 Achievements 5 2.4.1 Chemical Speciation Study 5 2.4.2 Dispersion Model study 7 3.0 Phase 3 Plan (2011-2016) 8 3.1 Phase 3 Priorities and Strategies 8 3.2 Phase 3 Targets 11 4.0 Phase 3 implementation plan Evaluation 12 4.1 Short-term Goals 12 4.2 Long-term Goals 14 4.3 The 40% Aspirational Target 17 4.4 Achievements by Category 20 4.4.1 Dust 20 4.4.2 Permitted Emissions 20 4.4.3 Non-Permitted Industry & Commercial 21 4.4.4 Transportation Emissions 21 4.4.5 Wood-burning 21 4.4.6 Research, Education and Coordination 22 5.0 Conclusion and Next Steps 23 References 25 Appendix A: Phase 3 Implementation Plan 27 Appendix B: Member Actions and Achievements 28 Appendix C: Prince George Air Quality Monitoring 29 List of Figures Figure 1: PGAIR organizational structure, with secretariat support from the Fraser Basin Council, and input from the Monitoring Working Group.
3 Figure 2: Timeline for development of air quality measures and the creation of PGAIR 5 Figure 3: Comparison of PMF and CMB source contributions. Average is the overall average (all data), High Mass is the days when highest 20% of PM2.5 samples were collected; Winter days, and Summer days represent samples collected during each of those respective seasons (Sonoma, 2008). 7 Figure 4: Contributions by Source Category to Predicted Annual Averaged PM2.5 Concentrations at the Plaza Site: 2003 – 2005 (Stantec, 2010). 8 Figure 5: Number of days with 24h PM2.5 > 25 µg/m3 (Jackson et al, 2017) 14 Figure 6: Deseasonalized monthly PM2.5 concentrations (µg/m3 ) at Plaza 400 from 2005-2016 for a) mean, and b) 98th percentile.
[Jackson et al, 2017]. Deseasonalizing data provides a ‘clearer’ look at the PM2.5 trends without seasonal influences due to the weather.
15 Figure 7: Annual average concentrations of PM2.5 at Plaza 400, with PM concentration on the left axis, and wind speed on the right. [Jackson et al., 2017] 16 Figure 8: Deseasonalized monthly average PM2.5 concentrations at Plaza 400 from 2005-2016 for 8 wind directions. The centre rose diagram shows the proportion of each wind direction and PM2.5 concentration contributes to the mean. [Jackson et al, 2017] 17 Figure 9: Relative reductions in point source contributions (source: ENV) List of Tables Table 1: Comparison of PMF and CMB source contributions. Average is the overall average (all data); High Mass Days are the days on which the highest 20% of PM2.5 samples were collected.
Winter and Summer represent samples collected during each of the respective seasons (Sonoma, 2008). 6
1 PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN 1.0 INTRODUCTION Particulate matter (PM) has been a significant air quality issue in the Prince George airshed since at least the 1980s, and has been monitored as PM10 and PM2.5 since 1992. Exposure to PM, especially the finer fraction such as PM2.5 is linked to a wide variety of human health impacts, including acute respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function, cardiovascular disease and premature death. (Kim et al. 2015) Actions taken under the Prince George Air Quality Management Plan (Phases 1 and 2) since 1995 to reduce fine PM in the Prince George airshed have been met with some success, achieving reductions in the coarser fraction (PM2.5-10 ) through measures such as road dust sweeping programs and the application of coarser winter traction material.
Improvements in PM2.5 levels have been slower, with a downward trend emerging.
This is the final report of the Phase 3 Plan, which builds on management actions identified in Phases 1 and 2. The focus of the community air quality targets is reducing PM2.5 emissions, and this is reflected in the management actions taken during Phase 3. This report will summarize current air quality trends, outline successes achieved during the Phase 3 Plan, and outline the future direction for work to be done in the airshed by PGAIR, its member agencies and the residents of Prince George. 2.0 BACKGROUND 2.1 AIR QUALITY TRENDS IN PRINCE GEORGE An airshed is known as an area where the movement of air is restricted by geographic features and by weather patterns [B.C.
Airsheds,online, December 2017]. Prince George’s airshed is strongly affected by its location at the confluence of two large rivers: the Nechako River and the Fraser River. Their river valleys form a large depression that is occupied by the main developed part of the city known as the ‘bowl’ area. Residential and industrial development, as well as the Prince George Airport, characterizes the upland parts of the city. Beyond the city’s developed boundaries is forest and agricultural land, along with rural residential properties. Prince George is subject to a variety of factors that can combine to create air quality problems in the airshed.
Prince George has numerous pollutant sources within its boundaries, such as heavy industry, (including the pulp and paper industry and the petroleum refining industry), residential heating and wood smoke, road dust and transportation emissions. Combined with frequent light winds and wintertime thermal inversions, these conspire with valley terrain to trap pollutants where a high density of people live and work.
In addition to those sources located within the city’s boundaries, Prince George has been subject to external sources of pollutants from wildfires. High levels of particulate matter from wildfire smoke can represent a significant contribution to Prince George’s airshed in a given year, depending on a variety of factors including winter snow pack and spring and summer weather patterns. Several pollutants types are monitored throughout the Prince George airshed in order to supply information to Provincial government, local governments, stakeholders, and members of the public for the purpose of responding to changes or threats.
This air quality data collection is carried out by a network of air quality monitors operated by the Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Working Group in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV). For more information about the group, see Appendix C. Many communities also support an air quality management committee or task force aimed at bringing stakeholders together in a roundtable format, where each member has an equal opportunity for input. In Prince George, the Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable fulfills this community-based function.
PHASE 3 PLAN FINAL REPORT 2 3.0 AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN PRINCE GEORGE 3.1 PRINCE GEORGE AIR IMPROVEMENT ROUNDTABLE (PGAIR) Since 1995, air quality management in the Prince George airshed has been coordinated through a community-based, multi-stakeholder group – now a non-profit society known as the Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable (PGAIR) – comprised of representatives (largely volunteers) from provincial, municipal and regional governments, Northern Health, industry, business and community groups, the public, and the University of Northern BC.
The current membership and structure of PGAIR is illustrated in Figure 1.
The Fraser Basin Council provides secretariat support to PGAIR. The Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Working Group is an arms-length body, made up of members from the industrial sector whose emissions contribute significantly to pollutant levels in the airshed. Their financial contributions support the air quality monitoring network in Prince George, and provide data to PGAIR towards managing goals and targets (see Appendix C for more information). Figure 1: PGAIR organizational structure, with secretariat support from the Fraser Basin Council, and input from the Monitoring Working Group.
3 PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN Membership in PGAIR is described in the certificate and bylaws of the society, governed by the BC Societies Act (2016), and was originally defined by the Prince George Airshed Technical Committee in their Phase 1 Management Plan report (1998). PGAIR is not a regulatory body and has no jurisdiction over air quality. Instead, PGAIR is responsible, through consensus-based and science-based decision making,1 for developing and (in part) implementing the Prince George Air Quality Management Plan (Plan).2 The Plan sets out recommendations for voluntary actions intended to help improve local air quality, in particular, to achieve and maintain acceptable air quality by reducing the emission of those air contaminants that are causing unacceptable air quality, and to prevent future air quality problems from developing.
Development and implementation of the Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 Management Plans were guided by the following principles: • Acceptable air quality is everyone’s right; protecting air quality is everyone’s responsibility; • Acceptable air quality is an important contributor to a healthy community and a sustainable economy; • Achieving acceptable air quality requires that local, provincial and, federal government agencies work together. Public and industry commitment to meeting targets is also necessary.
1 The use of scientific results as a basis for decision-making to implement effective airshed management plans is enshrined in the PGAIR constitution (section 2(c)); similarly, the use of consensus-based decision making is enshrined in the PGAIR bylaws (Part 12) Consensus is defined as “a general agreement by all directors or members, as the case may be, or the lack of expressed objection by a director or member, as the case may be” (section 59).
2 An air quality management plan provides a non-legal blueprint for managing community development and controlling all air pollution sources within an airshed, and allows the community to focus on those pollutants or issues most important to the community. 3.2 PHASE 1 (1998-2006) AND PHASE 2 (2006-2010) The Phase 1 Plan, adopted in 1998, identified measures to improve local air quality. In particular, it set out 28 recommendations for actions to reduce and manage sources of fine PM, including industrial emissions, road dust, and residential activities such as old wood burning appliances and open burning.
The Plan also addressed land use planning, poor air quality episode management, and monitoring and research requirements for measuring progress and identifying future management needs. The Phase 1 Plan achieved results in a number of areas, including the phasing out of beehive burners, the upgrading of some pollution control equipment at area pulp mills, and the enactment of the City of Prince George Clean Air Bylaw.
To continue efforts at improving air quality in Prince George, the Phase 2 Plan was developed in 2006. The Phase 2 Plan represents the bridge between Phase 1 – the completion of the source modeling (dispersion model) study being conducted by the PGAIR Research Working Group (RWG) – and Phase 3, which prioritized PM2.5 emission sources for reduction based on the results of this and other research, including a chemical speciation study and the dispersion modelling study. Achievements resulting from work carried out under the Phase 1 and 2 Plans are significant and represent promising signs that management actions undertaken to reduce odour (TRS), PM10 and PM2.5 have had a positive effect on air quality within the Prince George airshed.
In 2008, at the start of the Phase 2 Air Quality Management Plan, PM2.5 concentrations were declining relative to previous years. However, PM2.5 concentrations in Prince George were still high when compared to other monitored locations across British Columbia (ENV 2008, p28). By Phase 3 (2011), further reductions of PM2.5 were observed and annual average concentrations had dropped from 2nd to 6th highest across the province (ENV 2011, pp 22, 26-27, 85), although the overall trend between 2008 and 2011 was unclear. See Figure 2 for the timeline of developments for PGAIR and measures to improve Prince George air quality.
PHASE 3 PLAN FINAL REPORT 4 1995 - Prince George Airshed Technical Management Committee Formalization of air quality management process Prince George Air Quality Management Background Report 1998- Establishment of Airshed Management Steering Committee, Air Quality Implementation Committee Collaborative multi- jurisdictional committee Would later become PGAIR Phase 1 Air Quality Management Plan Progress Report - June 28 2004 Elimination of beehive burners from airshed Phase 2 Air Quality Management Plan Accepted June 2006 Speciation and Dispersion Modelling studies provide air emissions inventory and identifies top 5 sources Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable (PGAIR) established August 2008 Sets ambitious targets for PM2.5 reductions City of Prince George Clean Air Bylaw amended 2010 Regulates sweeping activities, prohibits open burning and limits use of wood-burning appliances Phase 3 Implementation Plan (2011-2016) January 1, 2012 Significant improvement in ambient levels of PM2.5 2017-2021 Strategic Plan Figure 2: Timeline for development of air quality measures and the creation of PGAIR.
5 PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN 3.3 PHASE 1 AND 2 ACHIEVEMENTS Two significant studies were completed during Phase 2. A chemical speciation study and a dispersion modeling study were carried out to identify relative contributions of sources of PM10 and PM2.5 in the airshed. The results of this research, briefly described below, helped set the goals and targets under the Phase 3 Implementation Plan. 3.3.1 Chemical Speciation Study A chemical speciation study, which identified the contributions from major contributors of PM2.5 5 to the airshed at the Plaza site, was completed by Sonoma Technology, Inc.
in 2008.3 This study used a particular type of source apportionment, known as receptor modeling, to identify the relative contributions of different PM2.5 emission sources in the Prince George airshed. Between December 2004 and March 2006, data (138 24-hour PM2.5 filter samples) were collected at the Plaza 400 site. The data (filter samples) were analysed and examined for chemical signatures, which identified the PM2.5 sources by comparing them with chemistry samples from local sources or similar source types. The data were examined using two different analytical approaches, chemical mass balance (CMB) and positive matrix factorization (PMF).
Comparing the results of both methods provided insight into which sources were clearly identified (i.e. results from both methods agreed), and which were less certain (i.e. the methods produced dissimilar or weakly agreeing results). The findings of this study indicate that, on average, three major sources contribute generally equal amounts of PM2.5 to the Plaza site (see Table 1 and Figure 3): • Pulp mill emissions (24-25%); • Wood-burning emissions (18-26%); • Mobile (including vehicle) emissions (22-24%). Reconciliation of Sonoma and Stantec studies Based on the findings of the dispersion model study, there were some areas of disagreement between it and the chemical speciation study in terms of identifying the major sources of fine PM in the Prince George airshed.
As such, a critical step in prioritizing sources for reduction under the Phase III Plan was to reconcile, to the extent possible, the major findings and recommendations of the research studies.
The comparison and reconciliation was carried out by members of the Research Working Group with expertise in chemical speciation and/ or dispersion modeling, and recommendations were made to PG AIR for consideration and incorporation into management actions. Table 1: Comparison of PMF and CMB source contributions. Average is the overall average (all data); High Mass Days are the days on which the highest 20% of PM2.5 samples were collected. Winter and Summer represent samples collected during each of the respective seasons (Sonoma, 2008).
3 Source Apportionment of PM2.5 in Prince George, British Columbia (Sonoma, 2008).
PHASE 3 PLAN FINAL REPORT 6 PM2.5 Particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5 ), about 1/30th the size of a human hair most strongly correlates with negative health effects (relative to larger particle sizes). Health impacts to the respiratory and cardiovascular system have been clearly demonstrated by research although several other effects are also being studied. Sources of PM2.5 that are generated by human activity include vehicle emissions, industrial emissions, and other combustion sources like burning wood or coal for heat. Of course there are natural sources as well, such as smoke from wildfires.
Figure 3: Comparison of PMF and CMB source contributions. Average is the overall average (all data), High Mass is the days when highest 20% of PM2.5 samples were collected; Winter days, and Summer days represent samples collected during each of those respective seasons (Sonoma, 2008). 3.3.2 Dispersion Model study An emissions inventory and dispersion model study was started in 2006 by researchers at UNBC together with the PGAIR Research Working Group (RWG). The study included an extensive micro- emissions inventory that identified all sources of respirable PM (PM10 and PM2.5 ) in the Prince George airshed and used the CALMET/ CALPUFF computer model to predict the contribution of each source to ground-level (ambient) fine PM concentrations for the years 2003 to 2005.
While the chemical speciation study (described above) provided valuable initial insight about the particulate matter profile in the airshed, the dispersion model study was a necessary component to provide much more detailed and specific information about sources of particulate matter and how they are transported throughout the community. This additional information was needed to thoroughly support the development of the Phase 3 Air Quality Implementation Plan.
An interim report was produced in April 2009 and the general results shared with PGAIR and the public. In the summer of 2009, the interim report underwent an extensive technical review (of all inputs, assumptions and settings used in the study) by an external party (RWDI Air Inc.), increasing confidence in the results among all stakeholders and the public. Approximately 140 recommendations were made, largely to correct minor errors and improve assumptions used in the interim report. These recommendations were reviewed by the RWG and additional recommendations made for remodelling and revision.
7 PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN Stantec Consulting Ltd. was selected in the fall of 2009 to carry out the recommended remodelling and revision of the study. They produced a final report received by PGAIR and the Ministry of Environment (ENV) at the end of March 20104 . The report was formally adopted in April 2010 following reviews by the ENV and the PGAIR Research Working Group. While the dispersion modeling study provided much more information than discussed here, summary results of the emissions sources are highlighted to demonstrate the type of information that was used to support the selection of the Phase 3 priorities.
The top four major contributors to PM2.5 at the Plaza site (2003-2005 annual average) were identified as follows: • Permitted users (industry) (18%); • On-road dust (mobile sources) (18%); • Locomotive sources (11%); • Commercial restaurants (11%). A breakdown of the contributions (Stantec, 2010) by source category to predicted annual averaged PM2.5 concentrations at the Plaza site, 2003 – 2005, is provided below in Figure 4. Figure 4: Contributions by Source Category to Predicted Annual Averaged PM2.5 Concentrations at the Plaza Site: 2003 – 2005 (Stantec, 2010). 4 Prince George Air Quality: Dispersion Model Study – A Revision (Final Report) (Stantec, 2010).
PHASE 3 PLAN FINAL REPORT 8 Waste Discharge Regulation Most activities that discharge pollutants into the air require an authorization or permit. The Waste Discharge Regulation (WDR) defines what industries, activities, and operations require authorizations to discharge or release waste to the air, water, and land under the Environmental Management Act (EMA) in B.C.. Some examples of industries whose activities may be affected by the WDR include pulp and paper mills, wood processing facilities and petroleum processing facilities. 4.0 PHASE 3 PLAN (2011-2016) 4.1 PHASE 3 PRIORITIES AND STRATEGIES Based on the results of research carried out in Phase 2, the Phase 3 Plan prioritized significant PM2.5 sources for emissions reduction.
The studies described in Section 2.4 identified that all major sources or sectors in the Prince George airshed were significant contributors to local particulate matter pollution. PGAIR has developed recommendations and management actions under the Phase 3 Plan for each source/sector. Some management actions were carried out by PGAIR, but many were, and remain, the responsibility of member agencies and community members. Although the main focus of reduction efforts was PM2.5 , reducing other pollutants such as dust (PM10 ) was also supported in the implementation plan and strategies. The following sources or sectors were included in the Phase 3 Implementation Plan, in addition to Research Education and Coordination activities (see Appendix A): • Permitted Industry • Dust • Non-Permitted Industry & Commercial • Transportation (mobile) • Wood burning • Background (naturally occurring) • Other Sources Open burning was included where applicable in the above categories.
For example, residential recreational fires and residential land debris burning would be captured in the residential sector. Permitted Industry For the purpose of the Phase 3 Plan, the industrial sector includes all small and large industry that contributes PM or other identified pollutants to the airshed. These industries may hold air discharge permits or be required to follow a regulation under the Environmental Management Act to release air emissions. This includes such industries as, but not limited to: • Pulp and paper • Oil refinery • Sawmills • Pellet plants • Asphalt plants • Chemical plants
9 PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN Dust Although dust is often considered part of the larger particulate size category dust emissions contain a significant component of smaller invisible particles (PM2.5 ). Dust sources mainly include “fugitive” (wind-blown dust from open areas), on-road and off-road vehicle use, unswept parking lots, and industrial yards. Non-Permitted Industry and Commercial Non-permitted industry and commercial businesses were identified as any commercial operation that contributes to fine PM and or other identified pollutants to the airshed. In many cases, air emissions from these sources are unregulated.
Examples of commercial businesses and associated sources of emissions include, but are not limited to: • Restaurants • Auto-body shops • Scrap and salvage yards • Tire retreading facilities • Parking lots • Agricultural burning • Businesses that primarily use wood and/or oil for space heating purposes Transportation The transportation sector encompasses any transportation operation that contributes to fine PM pollution in the airshed. Examples of transportation include, but are not limited to: • Fleet vehicles • Rail transportation • Off-road vehicles • Equipment and machinery • Light and heavy duty vehicles • Individual personal vehicles • Buses • Commercial businesses involved in transportation Woodburning, (or Residential Heating) The residential category includes all residents living in the Prince George airshed.
PGAIR recognises that this particular category is far reaching and includes several recommendations, most of which require ongoing education and awareness of residential practices that can contribute to fine PM emissions in the airshed. Some examples of residential practices or equipment that have been recognized by PGAIR to contribute to fine PM in the airshed include, but are not limited to: • Wood-burning appliances (e.g. poor wood burning practices, inefficient non-certified wood burning appliances) • Open burning (recreational fires to larger burns,as defined in the City of Prince George Clean Air Bylaw # 8266) • Vehicle idling • Fugitive dust (e.g.
dust created by off-road vehicles, on- road fugitive dust created by poor driving practices, yard maintenance practices that create fugitive dust) • Small equipment (e.g. barbeques, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, snow blowers, and four stoke engines) Research, Education and Coordination Phase 3 recognizes research, education and coordination as critical activities that inform and support management actions of the plan. Goals and targets that are informed about air quality conditions, trends and contributing sources in the airshed are measurable and therefore more achievable. They are also the mechanism by which less understood or emerging topics can be identified and investigated in more detail.
Upon completion of each research project, new management actions may be developed and incorporated into management actions and plans. PGAIR plays an important role in the coordination of member efforts and is instrumental in reaching out to the public and stakeholders about actions to improve air quality.
In order to meet the targets set in the Phase 3 Plan, PGAIR adopted key strategies to support actions in several important areas: industrial emissions, research and education, transportation, wood burning, dust control, and vehicle emissions. These key strategies are designed to support source-specific responses and potential actions for implementation over the life of the Phase 3 Implementation Plan and beyond (see Appendix A).
PHASE 3 PLAN FINAL REPORT 10 Key Strategies • Collaborate with PGAIR member organizations to develop policies that reduce air quality impacts from new or expanding industries (e.g.
identify lands outside the airshed for industry), and provide feedback to industry to encourage the use of best practices and technology to reduce emissions. • Through research and education, increase public understanding of air quality issues, advisories, potential solutions, and success stories. • Establish a PGAIR awards and recognition program to recognize achievements to improve air quality by local businesses.
• Collaborate with the transportation sector to reduce emissions through best practices and technology, and through improved transportation planning and infrastructure. • Reduce emissions from wood-burning heating systems and backyard recreation fires by encouraging woodstove upgrades to EPA/CSA certified models through the Provincial Woodstove Exchange Program, increasing knowledge of proper burning practices and increasing awareness of the City’s Clean Air Bylaw. • Reduce dust by encouraging more paving, improved street and private lot sweeping, appropriate off-road use, and improved residential yard maintenance.
• Reduce vehicle emissions by encouraging more alternative transportation such as biking, transit and carpooling, and improved traffic low, less idling, and more efficient fleet movement. PGAIR may also work with stakeholders to help establish local vehicle emission testing requirements similar to other jurisdictions. 4.2 PHASE 3 TARGETS The Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable committed to focussing efforts on all particulate matter sources to voluntarily reduce particulate emissions (PM10 and PM2.5 ) that are shown (by modeling and other studies) to have a significant impact on local ambient air quality.
Since the PM2.5 fraction (smallest particles) represents the greatest known risk to health (Brook et al. 2010), two- and five-year targets were set for this pollutant.
The two-year ambitious ambient air quality targets to be achieved by December 31, 2013: • 24-hour average not to exceed 25 µg/m3 ; and • an annual average of 6 µg/m3 (equivalent to the Province’s PM2.5 planning goal). The five-year target stated that by December 31, 2016, the following should be achieved: • an aspirational target of a 40% reduction on all significant emission sources; and • an annual average PM2.5 ambient target of 5 µg/m3 . The goals set by the PGAIR Board of Directors can be thought of as ways to evaluate acute (short-term) and chronic (long-term) exposure to air pollution.
The PGAIR’s goals related to ambient air quality are organized below according to these concepts.
Goals that consider air quality over short durations of time evaluate acute (short-term) impacts, for example, the number of days that approached or exceeded the 24-hour PM2.5 objective. These short-term periods of poor air quality commonly occur on days when a temperature inversion traps pollutants in the “bowl” area of Prince George, or when wildfires during summer months cause smoky conditions locally. Goals that consider longer periods of time, such as over the course of a given year, consider chronic (long-term) impacts. The annual average takes into account all of the short-term episodes and their magnitudes combined.
Goals that address both types of impacts are important for considering the overall impact of air quality on residents and the community.
11 PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN Change in Monitoring Technology The technology used to measure PM2.5 changed in 2013. The old technology (TEOM) heated the sample, which caused semi-volatile compounds within the sample to evaporate (and would not be measured). The new technology (SHARP) is able to better capture the semi-volatile compounds within the sample. As a result, SHARP analyzers tend to measure higher PM2.5 concentrations on average than TEOMs.
5.0 PHASE 3 IMPLEMENTATION PLAN EVALUATION The Prince George Air Improvement Roundtable has made great progress toward improving air quality for all residents in the Prince George airshed. Through the combined efforts of member agencies and individual residents, significant achievements can be recognized. Despite these achievements, significant work remains for continued improvement to be realized, particularly on non- permitted sources such as residential or individual contributions. The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) conducted an analysis for PGAIR to evaluate if the Phase 3 goals tied to ambient air quality were achieved.
Students of the 2017 ENSC 412 class completed the analysis under the support and advisement of their professor, Dr. Peter Jackson. The key findings of this work are presented below. The full report can be read in the Natural Resources and Environmental Science Extension Note series [Jackson et al. 2017].
5.1 DAILY AIR QUALITY TARGETS In 2011, the target set by PGAIR was a daily limit of not more than 25 µg/m3 (24-hour average Provincial PM2.5 Objective). This goal suggests that should any day out of 365 exceed 25 µg/m3 , the target would not be met. The 24-hour Provincial Air Quality Objective (AQO) of 25 µg/m3 is considered to be achieved if it is met at the 98th percentile of daily average over one year. By this definition, PGAIR’s goal could be considered met, however the goal was not stated in these terms. Goal: 24-hour average not to exceed 25 µg/m3 Daily PM2.5 concentrations were at or below 25 µg/m3 for an average of 360.17 days per year over the 2011-2016 period.
While exceedances did occur, the frequency was less than 5 days on average each year (see Figure 5) [Jackson et al 2017]. The data clearly demonstrate that the number of days per year that exceeded the PM2.5 limit has declined since the beginning of air quality management activities in the late 1990s. PM2.5 concentrations between 2011 and 2016 are historically low with the exception of 2014 when wildfire smoke contributed to more than half of exceedances that year [ENV 2016].
The daily PGAIR target may have been overly stringent in the sense that allowances for impacts from unmanageable sources (such as wildfires) were not explicitly incorporated. Other than wildfire impacts, exceedances most frequently occurred during the cooler months of the year (late fall, winter and early spring). This trend is heavily driven by the weather during these months. When daylight hours are shorter and temperatures are colder, the
PHASE 3 PLAN FINAL REPORT 12 atmosphere tends to be more stable and becomes less effective at dispersing pollutants.
For this reason, the same amount of pollutants in the atmosphere during the summer does not result in the higher pollutant concentrations experienced in the winter. However, with the addition of pollutants such as residential wood smoke contributing more during cooler months of the year on top of pollutants present all year (e.g. traffic, industry), avoiding daily exceedances becomes increasingly challenging to achieve. Prince George’s airshed is subject to particulate matter contributions from a variety of sources, and because of its location in a river valley, managing air quality is likely to be an ongoing process.
In the face of climate change, the changing forest fire regime is expected to become increasingly important with regards to air quality impacts in Prince George (along with other BC communities).
Figure 5: Number of days with 24h PM2.5 > 25 µg/m3 (Jackson et al, 2017)
13 PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN 5.2 ANNUAL AIR QUALITY TARGETS Goal: an annual average PM2.5 ambient target of 5 µg/m3 Examining the longer-term trends yields some good news. Jackson et al. (2017) found that the airshed experienced a downward trend in annual average concentrations of PM2.5 in Prince George at Plaza 400 over the Phase 3 period (see Figure 6), and longer. This trend continues from 2005, the baseline year used in the dispersion modelling research (Phase 2).
In fact, there has been a continuous improvement in the annual mean concentration of PM2.5 from 2005 to 2016, continuing the trend of yearly decreases in the mean annual concentration since the beginning of the air quality management planning process [Jackson et al 2017]. Figure 6: Deseasonalized monthly PM2.5 concentrations (µg/m3) at Plaza 400 from 2005-2016 for a) mean, and b) 98th percentile [Jackson et al, 2017]. Deseasonalizing data provides a ‘clearer’ look at the PM2.5 trends without seasonal influences due to the weather. While overall decreasing PM2.5 trends (see Figure 6) demonstrate alignment with PGAIR’s 2016 goal of meeting an annual average concentration of PM2.5 of 5 µg/m3 , the target was met only in one year, 2011 (see Figure 7).
The analysis estimated that background emissions account for 18-35% of the annual average which equates to 1-3 µg/m3 based on measurements collected at the downtown (Plaza 400) monitoring station. This means that the manageable component of the PGAIR annual goal (5 µg/m3 ) is reduced to 2-4 µg/m3 . Given the strong influences of meteorology on PM2.5 concentrations during the cool weather months (as described above), the 5 µg/m3 would be incredibly difficult and could be considered unreasonable to attain. The manageability of the ‘background’ portion of the ambient emissions will need to be considered in future goal setting.
Setting future goals that take a minimum or acceptable number of exceedances into account would be a more reasonable approach.
PHASE 3 PLAN FINAL REPORT 14 Figure 7: Annual average concentrations of PM2.5 at Plaza 400, with PM concentration on the left axis, and wind speed on the right [Jackson et al., 2017] Looking at annual concentrations of PM2.5 tells the general air quality story. However, a closer look can help us answer more detailed questions such as which areas in the community are experiencing the biggest change in emissions. One way to answer this question is to look at where the PM2.5 emissions are coming from. When meteorological data is examined (wind direction and speed) and is coupled with PM2.5 measurements, a picture can be formed of how much PM2.5 is coming from each direction.
The windrose displayed in the centre panel of Figure 8 shows the relative contribution of PM2.5 emissions by direction. It demonstrates that a significant proportion of the annual concentration measured at the downtown (Plaza 400) station comes from east of the city, which is a heavily industrialized area. The panels surrounding the plot show trends of PM2.5 over time for eight wind sectors (northeast, north, northwest, west, southwest, south, southeast, and east). The panel showing PM2.5 concentrations from the east have the largest decreasing trend, which suggests the significant efforts made by industry to reduce emissions are working, especially when examining the change in emissions coming from the industrial sector to the east of the city [Jackson et al, 2017].
For more information about industry and partner efforts to reduce emissions, see Appendix B. Background vs.
manageable emissions The idea of background emissions refers to the ambient concentrations of pollutants from natural and anthropogenic sources that originate outside of the airshed’s boundaries, and are transported into the airshed. Air quality management relies on the ability to distinguish between the background pollution emissions and those originating locally from within the airshed to determine the extent that management actions can have an impact on local ambient air quality.
15 PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN Figure 8: Deseasonalized monthly average PM2.5 concentrations at Plaza 400 from 2005-2016 for 8 wind directions.
The centre rose diagram shows the proportion of each wind direction and PM2.5 concentration contributes to the mean [Jackson et al, 2017]
PHASE 3 PLAN FINAL REPORT 16 Approach 1: Total emissions were calculated based on information in the air permits. Permitted emissions = Approach 2: Considering that facilities may not actually operate as many hours as they are permitted to, permitted facilities provided their actual operating hours for each year (2011-2016). These operational hours were substituted for permitted hours. Operational emissions = For cases where operational hours were unavailable, results from Approach #1 were substituted. (Note: operational hours were provided for more than 90% of the total permitted emissions.) Approach 3: For cases where direct measurements of PM emissions are required by industrial permits (e.g.
stack testing), the measured emissions and actual operational hours were used to estimate total emissions for each year.
Measured Emissions = Industry Efforts Substantial efforts made by local industries operating in the airshed have included upgrades to equipment to reduce emissions discharge. Both Husky Energy and Canfor Pulp Ltd. are able to report significant investments in their respective systems that show a measureable difference in their discharge of particulate emissions. 5.3 THE 40% ASPIRATIONAL TARGET Setting an “aspirational” target to reduce PM2.5 emissions from all significant sources by 40% allowed all members of PGAIR to reach a consensus about the type of voluntary goals that could be collectively achieved over various stages of effort.
As PGAIR is not a regulatory body, the target represents a community target, one that requires support from the community at large, acknowledgement that PM2.5 emissions are contributed by many activities, and the recognition that actions from each of us as individuals are needed to achieve further air quality improvements. Research conducted in Phase 1 and 2 identified that several major sources of PM2.5 within the Prince George airshed originate from many places including permitted and non-permitted industry, commercial activities, dust, transportation and wood burning. Many of these emissions are released across the city`s landscape making them impractical to measure on a regular basis.
For this reason, the success of the 40% emissions reduction target is difficult to quantify. To fully evaluate this goal, the comprehensive inventory of all air major emissions completed in Phase 2 would need to be updated. This type of work requires significant funds and is a lengthy process.
As a partial indicator, air emissions data available from permitted industries (collected by ENV) was reviewed. Three approaches were used to summarize PM emissions from permitted industrial sources. Amount of PM permitted to emit (as stated in permit) Amount of PM permitted to emit (permit) Amount of PM emitted (stack test) hour hour hour # of hours permitted to operate # of hours in operatation (permitee records) # of hours in operatation (permitee records) year year year X X X
17 PRINCE GEORGE AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLAN Stack emissions were averaged for cases where multiple tests were performed on the same stack within the same year.
For cases where measured emissions were unavailable, results from Approach #2 were substituted. The results of all three approaches are illustrated in Figure 9. Approach 1 indicates that the total permitted PM emissions included in permits remained consistent over the six-year evaluation period (2011-2016). Approach 2 shows relatively small year-to-year change, with the exception of the notable reduction in emissions in 2013. These reductions reflect changes to the operational status of permitted activities in that particular year (e.g. facilities becoming non-operational or reducing operations to perform upgrades).
Approach 3 illustrates a consistent reduction of PM emissions throughout the Phase 3 period reaching a reduction of 50% in 2016 (relative to 2011, the base year). This information provides some indication that PM emissions from major point sources (e.g. industrial stacks) substantially decreased between 2011 and 2016 (~ 50 %, Figure 9). While source emission testing and permit emissions information isn’t collected in a manner that completely answers PGAIR`s 40% reduction target, it provides an additional piece of evidence that measureable improvements have occurred. This trend is also in agreement with the findings of the Jackson et al.
Some of the significant reductions to permitted PM emissions were achieved through major upgrades to infrastructure and equipment by major emitters, and are described fully in annual member briefing notes, available on our website (pgairquality.com). One example is Canfor Pulp Ltd.’s upgrades at two of their facilities within the airshed: a retrofit to the Northwood Pulp Mill #1 Recovery Boiler including installation of an Electrostatic Precipitator; and, installation of an Electrostatic Precipitator at the Prince George #1 Power Boiler Stack.
Figure 9: Relative reductions in point source contributions (sources: ENV, PGAIR industrial members) Changes of permitted PM emissions relative to 2011 (base year) Approach 1: Permitted Emissions Approach 2: Operational Emissions Approach 3: Measured Emissions